Stuttgart has just unveiled the second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLA - the brand’s entry-level SUV. In addition to that, the GLA will also get an AMG 35-badged version for the first time.
The first generation X156 GLA made its market debut in 2014 and has since gone on to sell around one million units globally, says Mercedes. This second generation – which ditched the X-prefix chassis name for the H-prefix, H247 – is expected to be a lean mean sales machine just like its predecessor.
The H247 is constructed using the second-generation MFA2 platform as found in the A-class sedan and hatchback, B-class, CLA four-door coupe and shooting brake and the new GLB-class. This makes it a full- fledged rival to the BMW X1, Volvo XC40 and Audi Q3.
The new GLA forsakes the X156’s jacked up appearance for one that makes it look more like an SUV and less like an A-class on stilts. That said, the H247 is 100mm taller and 30mm wider. The overall length is 14mm shorter as compared to its predecessor but the wheelbase is 30mm longer.
The GLA’s exterior suggests styling cues such as the CLA-class’s inspired headlights, single louvre radiator grille and “powerdomes” in the bonnet. Mercedes-Benz chief design officer Gordon Wagener refers to this fascia as the “predator face” which he says is “dedicated to our most progressive cars.”
Around the side its gets “coupé-like lines” and at the back it receives GLC-inspired slim LED taillights. The rear lights are in two parts – with the reflectors on the bumper – which makes the rear appear wider, claims the brand.
The changes made to the exterior have had an impact on the cabin whereby rear passengers get more space for their elbows, shoulders and legs but headroom takes a slight hit. The driver and front passenger’s space sees a similar increase as well.
Apart from that, it’s a fairly standard Mercedes affair. The driver gets a “free-standing” dual-screen setup which displays the instrument panel on one while infotainment, via MBUX, is dished out on the other. Satellite navigation with augmented reality, full-colour head-up display and ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant functionality are also available.
As for its powertrain, Mercedes has focused on the GLA200 in its initial press material and what we know so far is that it will feature an M282 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mill that produces 120kW and 250Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 7G dual-clutch gearbox which sends drive to the front wheels. The GLA200 will perform the century sprint in 8.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 210km/h.
The GLA200 was launched concurrently with an offering from Mercedes-AMG, the GLA35. This addition to the family completes the offering of 35-series models by the performance brand.
The technical basis of the 35-series is already well proven. The agile 2.0-litre four-cylinder lump which produces 225kW and 400Nm is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox which then channels the power on to the road via its front-biased 4Matic all-wheel drive system. It’ll get to 100km/h from rest in 5.1 seconds and eventually run into the 250km/h speed limiter.
Other improvements made to the GLA35 include a variable steering rack with selectable drive modes, body and chassis stiffening, better brakes and improved suspension.
The exterior gets sporty touches such as 19-inch wheels (20 and 21-inch alloys are optional), the Panamericana front grille, front splitter, rear apron with diffuser insert, roof spoiler and black chrome-plated exhaust tips.
Inside, it gets faux suede and leather upholstery with red stitching and red seats belts while the AMG-branded flat-bottom steering wheel with a 12 o’clock centre marker is wrapped in Nappa leather. The instrument cluster has three display styles namely, classic, sport and supersport. A plethora of information can be displayed by selecting between those modes.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA is slated to go on sale in Europe in Q2 while its set to debut in Australia shortly thereafter. Watch this space for more updates on price and specifications.